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Publication numberUS1253550 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 15, 1918
Filing dateJan 17, 1916
Priority dateJan 17, 1916
Publication numberUS 1253550 A, US 1253550A, US-A-1253550, US1253550 A, US1253550A
InventorsRoy A Wilkins
Original AssigneeRoy A Wilkins
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Stringed musical instrument.
US 1253550 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)



1,253,550. Patented Jan.15,191& v



Specification of Letters Patent. Patented Jan, 15, `1918,

Application filed January 17; 1916. Serial No. 72,617.'

quickly and accurately changed at will, and

bywhich the pitch of any particular string may be changed, and improved means for attaching the strings. I

In the accompanying drawings- Figure l is a topplan view ofa zitherto Vwhich my invention is applied;

Fig. 2 is alongitudinal sectional view taken through .the tailend Aof the instrument;

. Fig. 3 is a perspective view of a fret bar such as may be `employed in connection with an instrument like that shown vfor changing the key of the instrument;

Fig. 4 is aperspeetive view of a diiferent `form `of the fret bar from that-sliown V1n Fig. 3; Y Y l Fig. 5 is a longitudinal sectional viewon an enlarged scale illustrating the several features of the invention.

Fig. 6 is a detail view in longitudinal section also on an enlarged scale and illustrating in side elevation the individual .fretpin for a string and the manner in which it is operated; l y

Fig. 7 is a top plan view of the individual fret pin also illustrating one way in which it may be operated;

Fig.8 is a detail perspective view illustrating the arrangement of one of the individual frets, without association with` the fret bar shown in the other views; and

Fig. 9 isa diagramniatieview illustrating four different positions of a fret bar for adjusting the instrument to play in foundifferentv keys.

The frame ofk the'instrunient comprisesa bottom sounding board 2, a tail` block 3, .a head block 4 in which the tuningpins 5 are supported, and an intermediate brace .or cross-piece 6. The instrument illustrated, whichin itsgeneralfeatures lissiniilar to that described in my Patents Nos'. 760,288 of i May 171 1904 and 995,310 of June 13', '1911, is

provided with two sets of strings 7, one above the other. Between these twozsets of strings, and supported by the head block 4 and intermediate cross-piece `6, is an upper sounding board 8, while Vbelow the lower set of strings and between vthe intermediate cross-piece .and the tail block is anintermediate sounding board 9.

Each string 7 is secured to an elastic hitch device 10, those for the upper set of strings being supported in the intermediate crosspiece 6, and those for the lower set of strings in the tail block 3. Each hitch device is preferably formed from a singlepiece of highly elasticand rather heavy wire, and has a stern portion 11 adapted to be securely seated in the frame of the instrument, a standard 12 disposed at about right angles to the stein 11, a spring 13, and a hook 1, L

14, to which latter the string is secured.v It will be seen by reference to Figs. 2 and 5 that the standards 1201i the hitch devices are of such lengthl as to support the springs 13 above the upper faces ofthe contiguousY parts of the frame of the instrument, so that they are free to act without resting upon or engaging Withthe frame. The springs are suiiiciently strong to put the desired tension upon the strings as the latterare tightened by V,means of the tuning pins 5. It will be understood that hitching devices with springs of various degrees of strength may be `employed for the various strings `as the nature of the instrument and the tension to fret baris supported in bearings 17 in whichV it may be rotated, and is provided at one ory both ends with a` handle 18 vby which it may be turned inits'bearingsx. Thebar is round. or polygonal -in cross section,.being preferably octagonal, and is notched so thatV when turned to definite positions certain notches come opposite tocertairi strings, leaving them free from tail bridgetoxhead bridge. rIhe notches are designated 19. The

unnotched; portions of the bar that are' for?.

vposition F of the bar, Fig. 9.

the string when unfretted or free. The in' strumeiit is preferably timed to the key of C, when the fret bar is in the position with notches 19 opposite theC and F strings of the instrument, as represented by the position C of the bar in Fig. 9, the other strings resting upon the bar and being fretted. To adjust the instrument. to the key of G, one

sharp, the bar is given a one-eighth turn in one direction, bringing a portion thereof opposite the strings with notches only for the C strings, as indicated by the position G of the bar in Fig. 9. This differs from the position first referred to in that the F string Vwhich was before free is now fretted, and

hence its pitch raised one half tone. l/Vhen kit is desired that the instrument shall play in the key of D, two sharps, the fret bar is turned one-eighth revolution farther, which brings a face or portion thereof that is not notched at all opposite the strings, as indicated by position D of the bar, Fig. 9, with the result that all the strings, including the C strings, are now fretted.

To adjust the bar so as to play in the key of F, one flat, the bar is turned one-eighth of a. revolution from the position first described, that for the key of C, but in the opposite direction from which it was turned Vin describing the second position, that for the key of G. This brings a portion of the bar opposite the strings with notches for the B, C and F strings, as represented 'by the This position, as'compared Vwith the first, or that for the key of C, differs in that thev B strings are now left free, whereas before they were fretted, the condition of the other strings remaining unchanged. This release of these Vstrings lowers their pitch a half tone.

With this description it will be apparent to those familiar with the art how the notches in the other portions of the bar should be arranged to produce the desired fchanges in the pitch of the particular strings in order thatrthe instrument may play in any particular key.

The notches 19 may be cut across the fiat faces of the bars, as indicated iii Fig. 3, and

when, the bars are thus formed the strings Will rest4 upon `the said fiat faces when fretted by the bar. Or the notches may be `Vcut through the ridges between the flat faces of the bar, as indicated in Fig. 4, in which event the strings will `engage with the Vedges Vof the bar which may have seated inrthem metal strips or rods 20. The latter form of fret bar I'prefcr. i The fret bar may be provided with some across the string to sound the latter.-

designating means, as indicated at 21, to indicate the particular key to which the instrunient may be adjusted when the bar is turned to have a particular face or portion thereof Yopposite the strings.

Inni-der to permit any individual. string to be fretted so as to sharp it, I employ the fret pins 22. These are preferably formed of metal and shaped to have a stem 23 seated in a suitable part of the framework of theinstrument, such as either the crossbar 6 or the tail block 3; a fret 2% extending Ylaterally from thestem and adapted, by the rotation thereof, to be broughtinto engagement with vthe string, and a finger piece 25 by which the fret is manipulated. The stem 28 is seated a little to one side of the string, and the fret 24 is preferably of `segmental shape, as represented best in Fig. `8, itsbase resting upon the surface of the crosspiece 6, or other part of the instrument in which the stem is set, and its upper curved surface being the part that engages with the string, the lower part of the fret'bar Vbeing under the string and the higher portion coming gradually into engagement therewith, lifting the string until it is properly fretted.wThe finger piece of the fret pin vextends above the string and ispreferably curved and disposed, with reference to the Vfret 24, as represented in Figs. 6 and 7- kthat is to say, the finger piece normally lies to one side of the string and in positionfto be engaged by the finger employed to vibrate Vsuch string, and thereby drawn toward and over the string. This arrangement has been devised to permit theV easy manipulation of the fret pin by the same movement of the hand as that employed in drawing the linger In Fig. 6 is represented the way in which the 'fret pin is moved to disengage astring, the

thumb of the handvbeing represented as employed for this purpose.A It first engages Y with the finger piece 25V to move the fret pin, freeing the string which is instantly Vthereafter engaged, causing tliestring to be `vibrated. In Fig. 7 the first finger of the hand which isl about to engage the string,

Vis represented as Vhaving first engaged the finger piece 25 and moved the fret pin into position to fret the string and sharp it at the instant before it is touched-with the finger for producing the musical tone.

It will be seen by reference to the drawings thatV in an instrument equipped with the fretting devices suoli as I have described 'it is Vpossible to change the key ofthe instrument as desired, and also to change the i i pitch of an individual string, even though the notched fretting bar employed to change the key has been adjusted to fret certain of the strings. f l

What I claim is: 1. A nZither or harp having means for changing the key; said means comprising a rotatable fret bar extending transversely across the strings, and having portions shaped to fret the strings and other portions to disengage theV strings, the said parts of the banthose for fretting the strings and those for freeing them,being circumferentially disposed about the bar to selectively fret and free the strings to produce the desired changes in key as the bar is rotated, and individual fret pins for the strings arranged close to the said rotatable fret bar.

2. A Zither or harp having means for changing the key; said means comprising a rotatable, notched, fret bar extending transversely across the strings and arranged to have its unnotched portions bear upon the strings so as to raise the pitch of the engaged strings a half tone, the notches being arranged so that when brought opposite the strings the latter are freed from engagement by the fret bar, and being circumferen-v tially arranged about the bar to selectively free the strings to produce 'the desired changes in key as the bar is turned, and individual fret pins for the strings arranged close to the rotatable fret bar and adapted to be easily operated at Will by the player of the instrument.

3. A stringed musical instrument having a fret pin for an individual string, coniprising a stem seated in the framework of the instrument, and adapted to turn in its seat, a fret of segmental shape carried by the stem, with a curved upper edge adapted to pass under and litt the string to fret it, and having a straight lower edge engaging with the framework in which the said stem is seated, and means by which the fret pin is manipulated.


Copies of this patent may be obtained for ve cents each, by addressing the Commissioner of Patents, Washington, D. C.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4037510 *Mar 17, 1976Jul 26, 1977Ginex Michael FFret refinishing apparatus and method
US4064780 *Aug 18, 1975Dec 27, 1977Andrew BondStringed instruments
US4706539 *Apr 14, 1986Nov 17, 1987Parichehr BagheriSantur
US5753838 *Nov 20, 1995May 19, 1998Vanga, Ii; Val GeorgeGuitar string holder
US7855330Jan 19, 2009Dec 21, 2010Intune Technologies LlcModular bridge for stringed musical instrument
US7888570 *Aug 18, 2009Feb 15, 2011Intune Technologies, LlcStringed musical instrument using spring tension
US8779258 *Jan 18, 2013Jul 15, 2014Intune Technologies, LlcStringed musical instrument using spring tension
US20130220099 *Jan 18, 2013Aug 29, 2013Cosmos LylesStringed musical instrument using spring tension
U.S. Classification84/285, 84/314.00R, 84/297.00R
Cooperative ClassificationG10D1/12